Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What's The Point?

The Mangum Cup points race, that's what. The photo shows 2006 Mangum Cup Champion Tony Rouse accepting the award from last years winner Jay Finkle. and the keeper of the points, Mark Long.
The first Mangum Cup was contested in 2002. Robert Crosby won that first year and it is his shoe that was bronzed and made into the Mangum Cup Trophy. Tony Rouse placed third that year with 670 points. Things begin to get more competitive in 2003. Tony scored about 1,000 more points but came in second to Scott Brockmeirer.
I became a Mangum member and entered my first points race in 2004. I knew I would not be a contender but thought it would be fun to send in my results. Tony ran even more and added about 600 more points than the previous year but was still relegated to third place. That was the year of the two-headed running machine known as Janita, or Jay and Anita Finkle. Anita edged out husband Jay by a mere half point and a record high 4092 point total. I finished 7th that year.
In 2005 Janita didn't run quite as much with Jay winning with 3072 and Anita in 2nd. Once again Tony ran more but still was 3rd. I moved up to 5th with my best ultra year so far.
As 2006 began, I had no idea I would be a competitor but would send in my results anyway. I began the year in the midst of my training and trying to qualify for my first Boston Marathon so in January and February I ran no ultra's . Normally I would have run at least 3 by then. I noticed early in the year that Jay and Anita weren't sending in their results and I asked Jay about it and encouraged him to enter. He said they were tired of looking at it and decided to let someone else win. In March I ran the Ellerbe Springs Marathon, the first MTC event of the year. As I reported, Tony and I ran the last 8 or 9 miles together and pushed each other to a sub-4hour finish. Just two weeks before Tony and I had finished the Umstead Trail Marathon together. Tony had twice as many points as I did by the end of the 1st qtr and I was well back in the pack.
On the last weekend of April I finally ran my first ultra of the year, at Promise Land. Tony and I ran together nearly all day and again finished side by side. In June I ran the Old Dominion 100 and followed that up with the 2nd MTC event, the Boogie 50 miler. Tony and I ran the first lap together but then he pulled ahead as I was just runnng for fun and the points while recovering from the 100. Now after the 2nd qtr of the year I was suddenly in contention with the 300 points for OD and the 250 for Boogie. and had edged Tony slightly overall for the lead.
Tony stayed busy during the rest of the summer but my Leadville finish and it's 300 points pushed me a little further ahead by about 135 points. It became obvious that unless someone entered the race now that one of us would be the new champ as no one else in contention was in line to get the 500 bonus points for finishing all 4 MTC events. We began the final qtr with Hinson Lake 24hour and it's double points. Tony struggled with stomach issues and I ended up with 16 more miles and extended my lead slightly. For the rest of the year Tony ran nearly every weekend , sometimes running on Saturday and Sunday but couldn't seem to gain any ground as I continued to compete regularly. I went and stayed with Tony and Lisa for the Seaboard 5miler, a required MTC event . It was only good for 15 points but necessary to get the bonus.
Coming into December it looked like I may have the race locked up if I could just finish Hellgate. We had both run Derby and had the 500 ponts in hand. After finishing Hellgate I had over a 300 point lead. After the race I was staying at the Finkle's and saw the trophy. Yes, it would be mine! Just a few more weeks and they would be handing it over. But no, Tony wouldn't settle for anything less than first this year. I was surprised to arrive home and learn that Tony had gone down to Florida and run the Ancient Oaks 100 miler. My seemingly insurmountable lead was down to around 40 points with 3 more weeks in the year. I knew if Tony were to find another race to enter it would be his. I would be unable to run anymore and there was nothing I could do about it. The final nail was when Tony went to Virginia and ran the VHTRC 50K fun run and with it took the lead by 36 points.
It was a fun and exciting year. I was really happy to see Tony win although I would have preferred he wait and win it next year. At least I made him work hard for it. He ran 14 events including Hinson Lake in the last 3 months of the year and more than double his points from the first 3 qtrs. I would encourage all MTC members to join in and send in your points. You may not be competitive but it is still fun to watch. You don't have to worry about me winning next year although I will still send in my points. With WS coming just a week after the Boogie I will miss it's 250 points and with it a shot at the 500 bonus points. I would think it would be impossible to be the champ and miss that race and the bonus unless you plan on running three or four 100 milers to make up for it and I"m afraid I want be up to that next year. The way the point system works it is definitely geared toward the ultrarunners. Here is a link to the Mangum Track Club
where you can check out everything about the points race and past results as well as a list of all the races each person ran.

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